Former President Donald Trump is facing four federal felony counts from Special Counsel Jack Smith in a prosecutorial effort involving allegations that Trump illegally attempted to overturn and reverse the 2020 election results.
There are now indications that Smith has perhaps scaled back the prosecution of Trump after he quietly withdrew in recent weeks multiple subpoenas that demanded documents related to pro-Trump fundraising, according to America Insider.
Smith's withdrawal of subpoenas seeking financial records from Trump's 2020 campaign and the affiliated Save America political action committee suggests that he has retreated from or shut down a probe into allegations of wire fraud related to post-2020 fundraising efforts by those organizations based on unproven claims of election fraud.
The Washington Post first reported on Oct. 17 that Special Counsel Smith had withdrawn a subpoena seeking fundraising records from the Save America PAC, which unnamed sources said "indicates Smith is scaling back at least part of his inquiry into the political fundraising work that fed and benefited from unfounded claims that the election was stolen."
Anonymous sources "familiar with the matter" further revealed that Save America, which was not specifically named in Smith's indictment of former President Trump, had still been in the process of gathering together all relevant fundraising documents when the subpoena was suddenly withdrawn without any explanation, as well as that prosecutors had not been asking any fundraising-related questions over the past few months.
The subpoena allegedly sought to uncover whether the PAC, which has raised more than $100 million since it was created after the 2020 election, was knowingly fundraising off false claims about election fraud, as well as whether donors were misled about what their contributions would be used for, given that a substantial portion of the PAC's funds have gone toward the mounting legal costs incurred by Trump and others associated with him.
"A subpoena withdrawal doesn’t mean that a case is closed or that investigators’ interest in the subject has ended, but it does indicate that prosecutors no longer think the information they once demanded is necessary for their work," the Post noted. "Nothing prevents Smith’s team from reviving a particular demand for records if they change their minds later."
Just 10 days later, CNN reported on Oct. 27 that Special Counsel Smith had also inexplicably withdrawn with little fanfare a subpoena aimed at the financial records of former President Trump's 2020 campaign.
Linking that withdrawal to the prior withdrawal of the Save America PAC subpoena, the outlet noted that Smith's team had for some time been probing the pro-Trump fundraising efforts and how that money had been spent over the past year or two.
That seemed to follow the lead of the now-disbanded House Jan. 6 Select Committee that, per CNN, had "dedicated an entire investigative team" to scrutinize the 2020 campaign's post-election fundraising in order to "make the case that the Trump campaign raised funds by falsely claiming the election was stolen, even though they knew it wasn’t, and that the funds may have been misused."
To be sure, there are some legitimate questions about whether Trump's 2020 campaign and affiliated Save America PAC raised funds from the former president's supporters under false pretenses, given that some of the money has been used to cover the legal bills of Trump and others.
Further, as the Post noted, there have been instances in the past when "false fundraising claims" have been prosecuted at the federal or state levels.
That said, such prosecutions are generally rare when they involve political organizations given a typical "reluctance" by prosecutors to appear as though they are trying to "police political activity," which risks crossing the line of infringing upon First Amendment-protected rights.
As it stands now, however, it appears that Special Counsel Smith has backed down, at least with regard to alleged fundraising-related crimes, which is undoubtedly a welcome development for Trump and his associates.